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WESTVILLE — Listening to University of Illinois Extension officials talk about healthy eating is one thing.

Tasting items was the so called cherry on top for some Westville children who made parfaits with different fruit, vanilla yogurt and granola last week.

“It tastes good,” they said in unison.

Summer is almost over as students will soon be heading back to school in the coming weeks.

As families’ busy schedules shift from summer to a new school year, the University of Illinois Extension works with students and families to promote healthy eating habits throughout the year.

Community Health Workers Janet Wright and Sheri Walker talked to students last week to teach the program “Healthy Kids Out of School” at the Westville Public Library.

The class was with students in second through fifth grade, with Project Success.

They talked about berries and different fruit and foods, such as banana chips, that the children knew about. Some things the children weren’t as aware of, such as pomegranates, rambutan, pineapple on pizza, fruits providing vitamins and minerals, and having half your plate be fruits and vegetables for meals.

“We work with Eat.Move.Save., a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) provided by the University of Illinois Extension,” according to Walker. “Across the state of Illinois, our program partners with local agencies to provide free nutrition education and resources.”

In Vermilion County, they work with agencies and community sites like the library to reach limited resource families to provide free nutrition education classes.

“We have worked in collaboration with Project Success, YMCA, local schools that have 50% more of their student body receiving free and reduced lunch. We work with younger kids and adults for education on healthy choices, physical activity, and overall encourage steps toward health and wellness,” according to Walker.

“We do programming with youth K-12 and adult audiences. For adults we can do programming focusing on stretching your dollars (especially SNAP EBT dollars), meal planning, cooking, and eating together as a family. For youth we have specific programs to talk about healthy habits discussing drinking water, healthy snacking, physical activity, and more,” Walker said.

During the school year they have set programs they can do in schools that are eligible for their programming.

“We are able to come visit the classroom once a month to deliver programming from K-5 with materials suitable to the grade level that covers healthy eating and exercise to start those habits early. For older youth we have other set programming that is more suitable for afterschool as it focuses on cooking skills and choosing healthy options,” Walker said. “We can do adult classes all year round. Location and partners do vary. However, we stay active in the Danville area community promoting classes to help make the healthy choice the easiest choice.”

For more about Eat.Move.Save Illinois SNAP-Ed such as healthy recipes, budgeting tips, or exercises visit the website: https://eat-move-save.extension.illinois.edu/.

For more about the impact of Illinois SNAP-Ed across the state, visit https://extension.illinois.edu/global/snap-education-impact.

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